How to do Tantric Meditation [Buddhist Meditation Guide]

Friday, March 3, 2023
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What is Tantric Meditation?

This meditation guide has three parts: The Four great preliminary guides, Meditation on Emptiness, and Dedication Prayers

What Tantric Meditation is NOT: 

The Four Great Preliminary Guides

Going for Refuge and Generating Bodhichitta:

We start by generating renunciation: “I may die today and this precious life so rare. Unless I attain liberation from samsara, the cycle of contaminated rebirth—I will have to experience again and again, in life after life, endlessly, the sufferings of birth, sickness, aging, death. I must abandon samsara and attain the supreme inner peace of liberation”

Then we generate compassion: “I cannot bear the suffering of these countless kind mother beings. Drowning in the vast and deep ocean of samsara, the cycle of contaminated rebirth, they have to experience unbearable physical suffering and mental pain in the life and in countless future lives. I will now permanently liberate all these living beings from their suffering”

Inhale: “I must practice Dharma purely and sincerely”

(imagine that the suffering, fears and obstacles of all living beings gather in the aspect of black smoke, which dissolves into our heart, destroying the negativity of our self-cherishing mind and freeing all living beings from their suffering)

Inhale Hold: “I and all sentient beings until we attain enlightenment go for refuge to Buddha Dharma, and Sangha”

(We imagine our close karmic circle beside us surrounded by all living beings of the six realms in human aspect making infinite prostrations to the three jewels and contemplate: through receiving Buddha’s blessings and help from the Sangha we can accomplish profound Dharma realizations and attain permanent liberation from lower rebirth)

Exhale: “May everyone be happy, may everyone be free from misery, may no one ever be separated from their happiness, may everyone have equanimity free from hatred and attachment”

(Imagine that through the power of our pure intention of wishing love and great accumulation of merit, our body transforms into the nature of a wishful filling jewel, which has the power to fulfill the wishes of each and every living being. Infinite light rays radiate from our body and pervade the entire universe, reaching the bodies and minds of al living beings and bestowing upon them the supreme happiness of permanent inner peace.)

Exhale Hold: “Through the virtue I collect by giving and other perfections, may I become a Buddha for the benefit of all”

(We generate the strong wish to attain enlightenment to free all living beings from their suffering)

Purifying Non-Virtues and Accumulating Merit: Vajrasattva recitation and Mandala Offering

How much we purify our mind depends upon the strength of applying the four opponent powers: The power of regret, the power of reliance, the power of the opponent force, and the power of promise.

We begin by contemplating, “Since I myself never wish to suffer and always want to be happy, I must abandon and purify my non-virtuous actions and sincerely perform virtuous actions. if I purify all my non-virtues, there will be no basis for me to take lower rebirth. By accumulating virtue, I will take a human rebirth possessing freedoms and endowments in future lives. Thus I can make progress along the path to enlightenment continually, life after life.

Then we make the strong determination, “I must purify all my non-virtues by sincerely engaging in the practice of confession, and I must put great effort into accumulating virtue”

Inhale Hold: “O Guru Vajrasattva, I have no refuge other than you. Please permanently purify my non-virtues of body speech and mind and my obstructions of dualistic appearance”

(We visualize Guru Vajrasattva with his consort on a moon cushion in the centre of an eight-petalled lotus on my crown. He is inseparably one with all the Buddhas of the ten directions. He has a white-colored body of light and looks upon me with eyes of compassion)


(while concentrating on the meaning of the request we recite the mantra as many times as we can. We imagine that Vajrasattva Father and Mother melt into white light, enter through my crown, and dissolve into the inner darkness of my non-virtues, downfalls, and ordinary appearance and conceptions at our heart. They become permanently purified.)

Exhale Hold: “The ground sprinkled with perfume and spread with flowers, the Great Mountain, four lands, sun and moon, Seen as a Buddha Land and offered thus, May all beings enjoy such pure lands. I offer without any sense of loss the objects that give rise to my attachment, hatred and confusion, My friends, enemies and strangers, our bodies and enjoyments; Please accept these and bless me to be released directly from the three poisons.”

(Through the power of correct imagination we generate a new Pure Land of Buddha and offer it to Guru Sumati Buddha Heruka)


(We visualize light rays from the letter HUM at my heart completely purify all worlds and their beings. Everything becomes immaculately pure, completely filled with a vast array of offerings that bestow uncontaminated bliss)

Guru Yoga: Receiving Blessings

Buddha said that relying upon a qualified spiritual guide is the root of the spiritual path. We begin by contemplating the benefits of relying upon a spiritual guide below and make the strong determination: “I must sincerely rely upon a spiritual guide.”

Our spiritual guide will lead us along the spiritual path, which is the only way to solve all our problems and make our life meaningful, his or her blessings will gradually draw us closer to the attainment of enlightenment, all he Buddhas will be delighted with us, we will be protected from harm caused by humans or non-humans, we will find it easy to abandon our delusions and non-virtuous actions, our practical experience of the spiritual path will increase, we will never be born in lower realms, in all our future lives we will meet qualified spiritual guides, all our virtuous wishes for beneficial conditions within samsara, as well as for liberation and enlightenment will be fulfilled.

Inhale Hold: “in the space before me is the living Buddha Shakyamuni surrounded by all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, like the full moon surrounded by stars.

Exhale: With my body, speech and mind, humbly I prostrate, And make offerings both set out and imagined. I confess my wrong deeds from all time, And rejoice in the virtues of all. Please stay until samsara ceases, and turn the wheel of Dharma for us. I dedicate all virtues to great enlightenment.

(We visualize the Field For Accumulating Merit and all the lineage Gurus all dissolve into our root Guru Vajradhara. We prostrate with our hands pressed together and request our root Guru to come to the crown of our head. We feel that he arrives arrives there and our crown channel wheel opens. Our Guru gradually diminishes to the size of a thumb, enters our crown, and descend through our central channel. We feel that he dissolves into the indestructible wind and mind inside the indestructible drop in the center of our heart channel wheel.)

Exhale Hold: Tsongkhapa, crown ornament of the scholars of the Land of the Snows, you are Avalokiteshvara, the treasury of unobservable compassion, Manjushri the supreme stainless wisdom, and Vajrapani, the destroyer of the hosts of maras; O losing Dragpa I request you, please grant your blessings.

(We contemplate very strongly that our subtle body, speech, and mind have been blessed!)

Inhale: From the hearts of all the holy beings streams of light and nectar flow down, granting blessing and purifying

(We contemplate very strongly that our subtle body, speech, and mind have been blessed and our Dharma Realizations increase)

(After we practice Guru Yoga as many times as we wish and receive blessings, we begin meditation)

Meditation on Emptiness


We should start by generating a strong determination to recognize, reduce and abandon our self grasping ignorance, the root of all mistaken appearances by contemplating: “Since I want to liberate myself permanently from all the sufferings of this life and countless future lives, I must apply great effort to recognizing, reducing, and finally abandoning my ignorance of self-grasping completely. I should not be satisfied with a merely temporary cessation of particular sufferings, which even animals can experience. I must attain the supreme inner peace of nirvana”

Meditation on Emptiness:

We normally see our body within its parts - the hands, back and so forth - but neither the individual parts nor the collection of the parts are our body because they are the parts of our body and not the body itself. However, there is no ‘our body’ other than its parts. Through searching with wisdom for our body in this way, we realize that our body is unfindable. This is a valid reason to prove that our body we normally see does not exist at all.

Also we normally see our self within our body and mind, but neither our body, nor our mind, nor the collection of our body and mind are our self, because these are our possessions and our self is the possessor; and possessor and possessions cannot be the same. However, there is no ‘our self’ other than our body and mind. Through searching with wisdom for our self in this way, we realize that our self is unfindable. This is a valid reason to prove that our self we normally see does not exist at all.

We should apply these reasons to all other phenomena, so that we will understand that all phenomena we normally see or perceive do not exist. In conclusion we will understand the the real meaning of emptiness is the mere absence of all phenomena we normally see or perceive. When a deep knowledge of the mere absence of all phenomena we normally see or perceive develops in our mind, we should hold this knowledge and remain on it single-pointedly without forgetting it. Through continually training in this meditation we will develop a deeper knowledge that functions to reduce or cease our self-grasping. This is the realization of this meditation.

Dependent Relationship:

All phenomena exist by way of convention; nothing is inherently existent. This applies to mind, Buddha, and even to emptiness itself. Everything is merely imputed by mind. All phenomena have parts—physical phenomena have physical parts, and non-physical phenomena have various parts, or attributes, that can be distinguished by thought. Using the same type of reasoning as above, we can realize that any phenomenon is not one of its pars. In this way we can realize the emptiness of all phenomena, the mere absence of all phenomena that we normally see or perceive.

It is particularly helpful to meditate on the emptiness of objects that arouse in us strong delusions such as attachment or anger. By analyzing correctly, we will realize that the object we desire, or the object we dislike, does not exist from its own side. Its beauty or ugliness, and even its very existence, are imputed by mind. By thinking in this way, we will discover that there is no basis for attachment or anger.

Dedication Prayers

Determination and Promise to Sincerely Practice the Six Perfections: Giving, Moral Discipline, Patience, Effort, Concentration, and Wisdom

O Guru Buddha, please listen to me. Just as all the previous Sugatas, the Buddhas, generated the mind of enlightenment, bodhichitta, and accomplished all the stages of the Bodhisattva’s training, so will I too for the sake of all beings generate the mind of enlightenment and accomplish all the stages of the Bodhisattva’s training, the practice of the six perfections.

Condensed Six-Session Yoga

I go for refuge to the Guru and Three Jewels. Holding vajra and bell I generate as the Deity and make offerings. I rely upon the Dharmas of Sutra and Tantra and refrain from all non-virtuous actions. Gathering all virtuous Dharmas, I help all living beings through the practice of the four givings.

Prayers for the Virtuous Tradition

Through the virtues I have collected by practicing the stages of the path, may all living beings find the opportunity to practice in the same way. May Everyone experience the Happiness of humans and gods and quickly attain enlightenment so that samsara is finally extinguished.

So that the tradition of Je Tsongkhapa, the Kind of the Dharma, May flourish, may all obstacles be pacified and may all favorable conditions abound. Through the two collection of myself and others gathered throughout the three times, may the doctrine of Conqueror Losang Dragpa Flourish.

The nine-line Migtsema prayer

Tsongkhapa, crown ornament of the scholars of the Land of the Snows, you are Buddha Shakyamuni and Vajradhara, the source of all attainments, Avalokiteshvara, the treasury of unobservable compassion, Manjushri, the supreme stainless wisdom, and Vajrapani, the destroyer of the hosts of maras. O Venerable Guru-Buddha, synthesis of all three Jewels, With my body speech and mind, respectfully I make requests: please grant your blessings to ripen and liberate myself and other, and bestow the common and supreme attainments. (3x)

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